‘No answers from Grainboys, no Grainboys report’ says planner
by Roger Varley
Uxbridge council received a report on the Grainboys application from planning consultant Elizabeth Howson on Monday night, but it was not the report council was expecting.
Grainboys Holdings Inc. has applied for a zoning bylaw amendment to allow a 40,000-square-foot dry grain processing plant, complete with 18 60-foot silos, to be constructed on Highway 47, just east of Goodwood. Council passed a resolution on Jan. 21 saying Howson’s report would be released publicly on Feb. 4 so that residents would be given a three-week period to examine it before council finally deals with the application at a night meeting on Feb. 25. However, the report they received explained that the planner could not give them what they wanted because Grainboys had been looking at other options, including the possibility of moving to a new site, and had not responded to questions sent in by Goodwood residents.
“Consequently, it is, in my opinion, premature to finalize a report on the application at this time,” Howson wrote. She added verbally that she cannot and will not prepare the report until all the questions are answered. “We’ve made it clear we want the responses before a report is prepared.”
That led council to discuss the timing, with Mayor Dave Barton opining that if the report is released on Feb. 18 that would still be enough time for residents to review it.
“One week would be double or triple what the public usually gets,” he remarked.
Conrad Richter, owner of Richter’s Herbs, which sits immediately adjacent to the property in question, asked what was so “magical” about Feb. 25. Barton replied that council could lose control of the issue if Grainboys decides to take the application to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), the body that replaced the Ontario Municipal Board.
Prior to Howson delivering her report, Councillor Pam Beach declared a pecuniary conflict of interest and moved her chair to the back of the dais. However, Howson insisted that the councillor remove herself from the council chambers completely. The Cosmos learned just before going to press that Councillor Beach had checked with the integrity commissioner who confirmed that she does not, in fact, have a conflict.
Also discussed at Monday’s council meeting was a report on amending the township’s election sign bylaw, which was prepared by outgoing Chief Bylaw Officer Andre Gratton. The submitted report raised more than a few concerns among those most directly affected: the councillors.
Among other things, the revised bylaw would prevent election candidates from placing their own election signs within 500 metres of each other or within 10 metres of another candidate’s sign. But councillors had questions about how that 500 metres would be measured: for example, did it mean within a straight line or would it include signs set on intersecting streets?
Mayor Barton said he wanted to make the sign bylaw as fair as possible for all, so that there would be no advantage for incumbents or for candidates with a lot more money than others.
Council decided to table the report until April to give clerk Debbie Leroux, who ultimately oversees the bylaw department, time to work on it.